When Medium Fry was little, I developed a crush on the Blue's Clues guy. (Steve, not Joe. Nobody likes Joe.) I was just so lonely, and he kept telling me how smart I was... I am pretty smart, you know. I know that. Now you know that (or at least you read it on the interweb, which makes it totally legit). The trouble was, at the time only Steve was letting me know he knew, and that meant a lot to me.
So thanks for that, Steve. I know it didn't work out between us. But it's me, not you - I just found a better fix.
It's called Work. At Work, they don't necessarily sing or play, or even have fun, but they do provide me with tangible reminder that I am valuable, and that comes in the form of a paycheque every two weeks. I know, Steve, you used to tell me several times a day how smart I was, and do a jazzy little hand dance to boot, but at Work they tell me exactly how many thousands of dollars worth of smart I am. Quality, not quantity. Or quantity, doled out in bi-weekly increments... oh, hell, who cares. It pays the bills.
But no matter how many dollars worth of smart Work tells you you are, you can't be in love with Work. Or else you'll turn into one of those people who other people want to punch in their obsequious goddam teeth. I recommend accepting the paycheque as proof of your smartitude and general wonderfulization, then projecting your cringing gratitude onto coworkers. It wouldn't do to direct it all at one person - that's just asking for a restraining order - so be sure to spread your admiration around. Change targets frequently, you know - keep it fresh.
And the criteria? I can only speak for myself here, but as with most things in life, it fluctuates with my estrogen levels. Sometimes a pleasant 'good morning' is enough to make me nearly weep with joy. Clean and presentable every day is also nice, though I'm fully aware this is not a sustainable illusion - Exhibit A:
Me and DH, slobbed out and stinky in our yard work clothes, three nights running. Yes, same clothes. Yet when we go to our respective workplaces tomorrow morning, we'll look nothing less than our squeaky clean best. We'll probably fart less and use better table manners, too.
(Not that I fart or anything.)
Really, workplace crushes aren't far along the spectrum from celebrity crushes. I mean, how well do you really know the people you work with? Chances are it's on a resume level, or at best a "resume plus" level (i.e., resume, plus some highly edited extra stuff that they've elected to disclose, farting habits likely not being one of those items) - either way, only marginally more information than you have when you decide you're madly in love with, say, Rick Mercer.
(Who probably doesn't fart either. Or if he does, it's so goddam funny that I don't even mind.)
I'm aware that most of the attraction inherent in a superficial crush is in the not really knowing, and have long used my superpower of Too Much Information to counteract my other superpower of Ultimate Freckled Adorableness to deter potential workplace devotees.
I'd gleefully employ my TMI on DH's behalf, too, but I can't figure out how to get his students and coworkers to read my blog.